Monday, August 11, 2008

Author Interview & Giveaway

A few weeks back I told you about a fun book, Calico Canyon, as part of the CFBA blog tour. I really enjoyed it; you can read my review here. So I was delighted to have the opportunity to "meet" the author and interview her via email for a feature post today. And stay tuned - at the end there's a giveaway!

So without further ado, may I introduce my new author friend, Mary Connealy.

Linda: Thanks for stopping by for a cup of mocha! I'm honored to have the chance to meet you and find out a little more about you and your writing. For starters, would you tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
Mary: I’m married to a Nebraska rancher and the mother of four daughters, all grown, two married, my first grandchild on the way.

Linda: When did you begin writing? And how long did it take to receive that all-important first publishing contract?
Mary: I began writing when my youngest child went to Kindergarten and my first book came out the year she graduated. I wrote for a long, long, long time before I got published.

Linda: What gave you the idea for Calico Canyon?
Mary: I think of Calico Canyon as my husband’s family when he was growing up. We have four daughters and he is from a family of seven sons. My husband’s mom, who is such a sweetheart, can tell chaotic little boy stories forever. I got a lot of the general chaos from her stories, although she insists that her children were much better behaved, at least at the dinner table.

Linda: Did you have a favorite among those rough and tumble little boys? If so, who was it and why?
Mary: I suppose Mark was the most fun to write, but I was really fond of John, the one who softened up first, and Ike the animal lover.

Linda: Your previous book, Petticoat Ranch, featured a widow and her 4 daughters. This book highlights the challenges faced by a man raising 5 rascally boys. Was one scenario easier to write than the other? Do you have a personal favorite?
Mary: The daughters came very easily to me, obviously, because they’re who I wrote first. But as I wrote that book I kept twisting the scenario around in my head about what is the boy’s side of the story. For every cliché you can come up with a clueless man, like Clay in Petticoat Ranch, you can do the same thing with a clueless woman like Grace in Calico Canyon, so each story had a very nice flip side.

Linda: What draws you to write in this genre of Western Romance?
Mary: I really enjoy the cowboy drawl and the heroic, man and woman against nature feel of a historical western. I've also got a three book cozy mystery series coming from Heartsong Presents Mysteries that is contemporary. And a three book Heartsong Presents series set around a buffalo ranch in South Dakota, so Barbour is letting me try different things.

Linda: Do your books contain a message or are they simply wholesome entertainment?
Mary: There’s definitely a message but I think the message grows out of life. The books themselves are written for the purpose of me spreading a message, but life has growth and Christian people base their decisions (except when they fail) on their faith based view of the world. So I want to tell my story, in the most entertaining way possible, without betraying my own fundamental standards of right and wrong.

Linda: What current and future projects do you have in the works?
Mary: I’ve got a lot coming, Linda and it’s probably easier to just send people to my website,
But here’s a quick list:
Three book Heartsong series:
Buffalo Gal – October
Clueless Cowboy – November
Bossy Bridegroom – December
Three book Heartsong Mystery series:
Of Mice and Murder – November
Pride and Pestilence – January 09
The Miceman Cometh – April 09
These three cozy mysteries are only available through the Heartsong Presents Mysteries book club but they will be packed into an anthology containing all three books and released to bookstores. The book is called:
Nosy in Nebraska – June 09
Book #3 in the Lassoed in Texas series:
Gingham Mountain – February 09

Linda: Is there anything else you are chomping at the bit, so to speak, to share with us?
Mary: Well, this weekend is my first book signing and then I’ve got one every week until (with a week or two off) October. So it’s a hectic time, really fun and exciting but nerve wracking too. So I guess I wish your readers would say a prayer for me. Public appearances are not my thing. I just want to sit behind my computer and make stuff up, but I’m trying to be brave. Yikes.

Thanks, Mary! You are a busy lady! I look forward to reading more from your pen/computer. And I love your sense of humor that is revealed in the books as well as on your personal blog!

The publisher is graciously giving away a copy of Calico Canyon to one of my readers. To enter, leave a comment on today's post by 12:00 noon this Thursday, August 14. Due to costs, this is only open to US and Canada residents.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the reminder that deep beneath the rambunctiousness and challenging behavior, children long for a loving touch and to be seen as individuals, not just as an indistinguishable group of siblings -- hooligans or not! Moms especially will both chuckle and sigh over some of the scenes.

If you don't win the book, you can buy one here. Enjoy!


View blog reactions


sphinx63 said...

Great interview! Would love to read this, thanks!

Unknown said...

I have only 3 "rascally boys", (not 5 yet - maybe never!), but would love to read other "chaotic little boy stories". Sounds like a great book. Please count me in for the giveaway.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Sphinx63, good luck in the drawing.

And Debbie, if you get the book read, email me (you can do that through my website) and tell me if I got it right.

I should have consulted you before it was in print.

bp said...

Can I enter another giveaway since I won one recently? I didn't know if you had rules about this.

It sounds like a good book. My grandmother got me started many years ago on Heartsong books.

Mary Connealy said...

Heartsong is a division of Barbour Publishing, bp. I love Barbour and they've been so great to work with.

cheryl c said...

Mary, I just loved Petticoat Ranch! Clay was a wonderful character. I loved the warmth and humor in that story. Now I am looking forward to Calico Canyon. As the mother of 2 boys, I have a feeling I will find a lot to relate to in this book. One thing I have learned is that males are just different in SO many ways! ;-)

CandaceCalvert said...

Mary, what a wonderful interview.
I understand book signing/public speaking "butterflies," and you have my prayers, absolutely.


HilLesha O'Nan said...

Wonderful interview!

Mary Connealy said...

You know, I have only girls. So who knows how well I did with little boys. But I had three little brothers.
Plus a scad of little nephews.

I've been in the eye of the storm plenty of times.

Mary Connealy said...

I survived the one on Saturday.

I'm sort of developing this 'denial' thing, where I just don't THINK about it.

Trouble is, that's bleeding into all areas of my life. And once in a while, I really oughta think about some things!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Another great interview! I've been trying to win this book on many other sites. Please enter me in the drawing.

Deborah Piccurelli

Doreen said...

Great interview! I would like the chance to win this book. :) purposedrivenlife4you(at)gmail(dot)com

A Stone Gatherer said...

Hey Linda,
I have given you a couple of awards, come check them out!

Anonymous said...

What a great interview. I would love the chance to win a copy of this book.


Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Deborah and Doreen and Jo. Thanks for coming out to play. :) Good luck with the drawing.

I'll come and see Linda's awards, too, a Stone Gatherer. :)

Jennifer Taylor said...

I've heard great things about this book. I'd love to read it.

Gail said...

Thanks for the interview. Can't wait to read it! Please enter me.

bookwurm70 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Jennifer, Thanks for stopping by. And I hope the book lives up to what you've heard.

Mary Connealy said...

And Gail/Bookwurm, and everyone, do you all belong to the ACFW Book Club? Calico Canyon is the pick for September. Join up and find a lot of people who love books.

Vickie McDonough said...

I've got four boys to your four girls. :)

Loved Petticoat Ranch and am looking forward to the sequel.


Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

Reporter and reviewer! You are a woman of many talents! Count me in...

Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

Reporter and reviewer! You are a woman of many talents! Count me in...

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, xandra. A woman of many talents.

Can I quote you?

Anonymous said...

great interview. please enter my name in the contest.
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

Merry said...

I loved Petticoat Ranch, very uplifting. I love books that make me smile! Please include me for Calico Canyon, thanks.


Cheryl said...

I would love to read this book. Please enter me in the contest. My email address is shryackmom[@]charter[.]net